Sermon on the Mount – Do Not Be Anxious


Sermon on the Mount

Do not be anxious

Matthew 6:25-34 – “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

In our discussion this morning we will be looking at God’s call for us to refuse to be anxious about those things that we cannot control or change. If we are to be true kingdom people, then we need to be aware of our anxiousness.

The word, anxiety, is an interesting word, and for those of you who are Latin students, you may remember that lying back of our English word “anxiety” is the word angustia, and usually found in the plural form of angustiae.  It means something like, “constrictedness,” “narrowness,” “contractedness.”  The Latin verb ungo means, sometimes, “to throttle,” “to choke,” and it is derived from a Greek word, ungko, which means much the same thing.

The concept of anxiousness is defined by Dr Gary Collins as the inner feeling of apprehension, uneasiness, concern, worry and/or dread which is accompanied by heightened physical arousal.

Psychologists Rollo May has stated that anxiety is one of the most urgent problems of our day. It has been termed the official emotion of our age. It is the basis of all neurosis and it is the most pervasive psychological phenomenon of our time.

People become anxious when one:

  • Is faced with a threat,
  • Has unresolved and ongoing conflict in their life,
  • Is full of fear,
  • Has unmet needs,
  • One responds to different stimulus.

In history, we have seen the story of kings who would attempt to cause people to surrender to their Lordship by creating anxiousness in their lives. They would withhold things so that they would look to the king to provide for them. And yet in God’s economy, things are different. Jesus does not want us to be anxious but desires that we depend upon Him for our needs because we see the value in it and not because we are forced to by some benefit of the king.

Three times in our passage today Jesus commands us not to be anxious:

  1. Verse 25 – Do not be anxious about your life.
  2. Verse 31 – Do not be anxious saying what shall we eat.
  3. Verse 34 – Do not be anxious about tomorrow.

Seven Reasons not to be anxious: John Piper in his book “What Jesus Demands From the World” noted these seven reasons to be not be anxious.

1. Anxiousness causes us to lose sight of the greatness of life. V25- Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

  1. We become anxious because we are afraid that we will:
    1. Lose some pleasures.
    2. Lose some human praise and admiring glances if we did not have nice clothes.
    3. Possibly lose our life if we had no food at all or weren’t protected from the cold.

In essence, we become anxious out of a heart of fear of what might be or what might happen. The key here is that we remember that life has not been given simply for the enjoyment of pleasure but for the enjoyment of God and what He has given us. When we lose sight of this we begin to image that what we possess can bring ultimate enjoyment but the truly real enjoyment comes from knowing God.

2. We don’t have to be anxious because God can be counted on to work for us tomorrow just as much as for today. V26 – Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? This passage is not a lesson in laziness. Birds dig worms; they pad their nests with twigs and leaves. They are busy doing what they know to do and God watches over them. Birds don’t anxiously hoard things as though God will not care for them tomorrow. They go about their work as if when the sun comes up tomorrow, because God will still be God 

3. Anxiousness does not get us anywhere, it is fruitless. V27 – And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Worry and anxiety in itself does little to change our circumstances and the events of our lives. Whatever problem is causing you to be anxious you can be sure that worrying will not reduce the problem.

4. God delights in adorning His children… V28-30 – And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? The lily has no power in itself to adorn or clothe itself and yet there is a great beauty that is revealed through the lily. If God finds delight in adorning the lilies of the field which are here today and gone tomorrow how much more does he delight in providing for our needs? The adornment of Jesus does not mean that we will have exorbitant clothes, but that we will have what we need. The provision of God does not mean that He will make us rich or that we will even live (some of you will be put to death) but that he will give us all that we need to do the will of God. 

5. V32 – For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Anxiety shows that we are no different from unbelievers. We do seek after things in an anxious manner because one we would stoop to the level of the unbeliever as represented by the word Gentile. And, we understand that God knows what you have need of.

6. V33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. It is a foolish thing to carry burdens which He promised to carry. God provides real things for real needs based upon what He has called us to do.

7. V34 – “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Today has enough troubles without being anxious about what has not even happened yet. Do not bring today’s worries into tomorrow and do not bring tomorrow’s worries into today because each day will have its own issues and problems.

Philippians 4:5B-6 – The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

 

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